CHAMPAIGN—If the Bears offense were your blind date, it would be described as looking fairly plain but possessing a great personality.
Wide receiver David Terrellwith his game-winning touchdown catch and fence-leaping celebrationwas all the personality this otherwise mundane unit needed Sunday for its dramatic 27-23 comeback victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
In an offense that is committed to the running game, Anthony Thomas rushed for minus-2 yards on seven carries in the first half. He wound up with 45 yards on 19 attempts for a 2.4-yard average and one touchdown midway through the fourth quarter.
"Any running back gets discouraged when things aren't working, but Marcus [Robinson] just told me to keep my head straight and things would work out," Thomas said.
"That's just kind of our style. We wear you out," said quarterback Jim Miller, who wound up completing 20-of-33 passes for 297 yards and two TDs after a slow start. "We run the same stuff. Yeah, you're going to stop us a couple times. You're going to stop us, but we're going to keep on doing the same things. We just keep on pounding you."
Offensive coordinator John Shoop said his otherwise plodding offense got a winning spark just in time. The Bears went 13-3 last season despite finishing 16th in the NFL in rushing, 24th in passing and tied for 26th in total offense.
"I do believe that the run comes first," Shoop said. "No matter what, we're going to try to run the ball. It may be ugly sometimes, but the run comes first and teams are going to try to stop the run first."
The most consistently productive member of the offense was wide receiver Marty Booker, who caught eight passes for a career-high 198 yards and a TD. But Booker says he prefers to dwell on the two balls he dropped, including one in stride at the 9-yard line that could have been another touchdown.
"You always remember the negative [plays]," he said. "It's just a matter of rebounding. I still have room to get myself better."
Booker also dropped a sure first-down catch that he juggled in stride.
"I knew I was going to be wide open," Booker said. "We saw a little something on film that they were doing. I knew once I got across the field. I don't know what happened. I just lost concentration. I was ready to go upfield and I juggled it and tried to re-catch it and it didn't happen."
Dez White and Thomas each had four catches Sunday.
"Everybody is more interested in talking about the drops, but I'm more interested in the way Booker blocked and made some big plays for us," Shoop said. "We're going to keep calling that guy's number."
Booker, who set the club record with 100 receptions last season, says the receiving corps will have to learn to share this season.
"It's going to be tough for balls to go around," Booker said. "We're all mature about it and we know that one day it's going to be one guy's game and the next one is going to be another guy's game."